Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Consumer electronics going green

All those neat high-tech electronic gadgets we use often are consuming energy even when we aren't using them. Most use low levels of power to retain settings, power indicator lights, maintain connectivity and stay ready to use instantly when we pick them up.

According to Jennifer Amann, consumer electronics expert for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy in Washington said "What most people don't know is that consumer electronics use considerable energy when in standby mode or even turned off. That downtime flow maintains internal clocks, indicator lights, preference settings, remote control responsiveness and other features and accounts for about 40 percent of electronics power consumption." A separate Ecos report due out in September will provide more information on this issue.
News and Observer
July 24, 2007
Frank Norton, Staff Writer

Electronics Going green
Makers of computers, MP3 players and other popular gadgets are heeding consumers' call to be eco-friendly. New devices use less energy, have fewer toxins and are easier to recycle. The companies' challenge? To lower prices.

Mark Pierce of Lenovo was jolted in August when Greenpeace ranked the Chinese-American PC maker dead last for green credentials out of 14 consumer electronics brands.

Pierce, Lenovo's environmental chief, was duty-bound to fix the situation or risk the company's fledgling U.S. image -- it had recently opened new world headquarters in Morrisville.

He began meeting regularly with Greenpeace officials to determine what Lenovo needed to do. The company committed to phase out hazardous chemicals from all products by 2009 and initiated a global hardware recycling program. It worked. Within a year Lenovo had soared to the top of Greenpeace's quarterly chart and has remained near the top since.

The intensity of that turnaround exemplifies the fervor of consumer-electronics makers to be green, or at least be considered so. For the first time, virtually all major brands including Dell, HP, Apple, Sony and Motorola are ramping up efforts to put cleaner, more efficient and more easily recyclable products in stores. Read more...

Preserving disappearing farmland

Time is short to preserve farmland in North Carolina. Open land is disappearing quickly and by the 2025 time frame driving through the scenic countryside will be a thing of the past unless something is done soon to save farms from the onslaught of developers greedy to turn fields into homes and shops.

The Perry family has taken a small step to preserve 50 acres of their farm and he is trying to get other area farmers to do the same. This is a small step that could help save at least a small portion of open land that farmers and land owners could easily take.
News and Observer
July 24, 2007
Peggy Lin, Staff Writer

Time short for farmland preservation
Development puts a premium on land in Wake, other urban counties

Larry Perry and his brother never want to see subdivisions on farmland that has been in their family since before the Civil War.

Last year, they gave up the right to put houses on 50 acres of their farm in exchange for $475,000 from Wake County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perry tries to persuade other farmers to do something similar. He gives talks in Wake and Johnston counties and welcomes visitors to his farm near Zebulon.

"People say I wish we would have done this or that," Perry said. "But it's too late after it's got asphalt on it."

As farming has ebbed following the 2004 tobacco buyout, conservationists hope to catch the wave of aging or retiring farmers looking for other uses for their land. It's a race against developers who are swooping into previously rural areas, such as eastern Wake County. Read more...